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Desert Research Institute Officials Fear University Takeover

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Members of one of Nevada's top research organizations fear that the pending exit of its president will lead to a takeover by the state's largest universities.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that longtime Desert Research Institute President Stephen Wells will leave this summer for another job in New Mexico. Organization officials say they are concerned state leaders will try to fold DRI's resources into one or both of Nevada's universities.

Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich says there are no plans at this time to overhaul DRI. Klaich did question the potential merits of a takeover during a faculty meeting, but he says that those were theoretical.

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DRI supporters say the presidential search should be top priority and that questions about the institute's future can wait.